Social-Ecological Systems

Groundbreaking book on methods to study social-ecological systems

Rural women workers plucking tender tea shoots in tea gardens

Photo: A. Ranjan/Unsplash

Open-access book covers 28 broad groups of methods, featuring contributions from almost a hundred authors in 16 countries

Story highlights

  • For the first time, the wide range of approaches being used in social-ecological research is presented in one handbook
  • The book is edited by centre researchers Reinette Biggs and Maja Schlüter within a team of six editors from Stellenbosch University, SRC and Rhodes university
  • It features a large number of centre researchers as chapter authors, as well as many SRC collaborators around the world

For the first time, the wide range of approaches that are currently being used in social-ecological research is presented in one handbook.

The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods for Social-Ecological Systems is out, and many centre researchers and collaborators have contributed to it.

The book is edited by centre researchers Reinette Biggs (also at Stellenbosch University) and Maja Schlüter together with Alta de Vos, Rika Preiser, Hayley Clements and Kristine Maciejewski from Stellenbosch and Rhodes Universities.

An online version of the book can be downloaded here

Many approaches, one volume

The book is primarily targeted at graduate students, lecturers and researchers working on SES, and has been written in a style that is accessible to readers entering the field from a variety of different disciplinary backgrounds.

It covers 28 broad groups of methods, including approaches to data generation, knowledge co-production, and analysis of SES.

“The great strength of this handbook is that, for the first time, the wide range of approaches that are currently being tried is presented together in one volume. |It] represents a great leap forward in our capacity to marry research and action in addressing complex social- ecological challenges.”

Frances Westley, former Chair of the centre board, and professor of social Innovation at the University of Waterloo, Canada

Almost hundred authors

The handbook contains contributions from almost a hundred authors in 16 countries, including South Africa, Sweden, Germany and Australia. Together they bring a diversity of expertise and vast experience to the book’s 33 chapters.

Each of the method chapters introduces a set of related methods, and discusses the types of SES questions that can be addressed with these methods, as well as the resources and skills required. Practical examples of how the methods have been applied in SES research are also provided in each chapters.

The book also includes several chapters introducing SES research, and concludes with a discussion of key gaps and frontiers in the methods used in the SES field, and a glossary of key terms.

Key for sustainability science

SES research is a major subfield within the broader emerging area of sustainability science and provides an increasingly important analytical framing to understand the interactions and feedbacks between social and environmental change.

The climate emergency and other environmental changes are underlain by a complex, interacting array of social changes, which themselves are shaped by the environment and environmental disruptions.

Similarly, problems of poverty and inequality are often linked to and exacerbated by environmental change and disruption.

"Studying these interconnected and changing systemic relationships often requires combinations of different methods, but these need to be thoughtfully employed,” say Oonsie Biggs and Maja Schlüter.

The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods for Social-Ecological Systems is out

An online version of the book can be downloaded here

Published: 2021-07-03

Related info

Content facts...

Book cover of the Routledge Handbook of Research Methods for Social-Ecological Systems

Share